01 February 2019
Lingfield Park staged a fascinating contest over two miles on Polytrack today, the £19,000 Betway Conditions Race (3.25pm).
All four runners were rated at least 100 and it was the 2018 Betway All-Weather Marathon Championship runner-up Lord George (James Fanshawe/Ryan Moore, 9/2) who took the field along, followed by Watersmeet (Mark Johnston/Joe Fanning, 9/4), Stargazer (Philip Kirby/Rossa Ryan, 11/4) and Grey Britain (John Ryan/Adam Kirby, 7/4 favourite).
The order remained the same until three furlongs from home, when the grey Lord George began to weaken and Watersmeet took up the running.
Adam Kirby delivered Grey Britain with a superbly-timed challenge entering the final furlong and took the lead with half a furlong remaining. Grey Britain went on to score by a length and a quarter from fellow grey Watersmeet, with Stargazer another five lengths away in third.
Grey Britain, running over two miles for the first time in his career, won in a time of 3m 18.95s.
The five-year-old was winning on an All-Weather surface for the second time, having taken a 12-furlong Tapeta handicap last time out at Wolverhampton on December 8. He has also won twice on turf at Newmarket, with victories in the 10-furlong Listed Fairway Stakes in 2017 and a valuable 12-furlong handicap in 2018.
Adam Kirby said: "The race went very smoothly and Grey Britain relaxed very well.
"The small field probably helped him, but he is a bonny little horse who is going the right way.
"It was a strongly-run race so you can't say that he does not stay. It was a nice enough performance because Watersmeet is hard to pass.
"It was over shorter the last time I rode him and he quickened really well."
Although today's contest was not a Fast-Track Qualifier, Grey Britain looks assured of gaining a place in the £150,000 Betway Marathon Championship over two miles on £1-million All-Weather Championships Finals Day at Lingfield Park on Good Friday, April 19, having now had three outings on All-Weather surfaces during the current season and a rating of 106 coming into today's race.
Two Fast-Track Qualifiers to look forward to tomorrow
Lingfield Park stages two Listed Fast-Track Qualifiers tomorrow, Saturday, February 2 - the £45,000 Betway Winter Derby Trial (2.25pm, eight runners) over 10 furlongs and the £45,000 Cleves Stakes (1.45pm, nine runners) over six furlongs.
Frankie Dettori has his first British ride of 2019 in the Betway Winter Derby Trial aboard Wissahickon (John Gosden), the 4/6 favourite with Betway.
Wissahickon, a hugely impressive winner of the Cambridgeshire Heritage Handicap at Newmarket in September, gained his first Listed success last time out in the 10-furlong Betway Quebec Stakes at Lingfield Park on December 22.
Big Country (Mick Appleby/Luke Morris, 9/2 with Betway) chased home Wissahickon in the Betway Quebec Stakes, having also gone down by a neck to 2018 Betway Winter Derby hero Master The World in the Listed Betway Churchill Stakes on November 17.
The eight runners also feature Wissahickon's stablemate Court House (Rab Havlin, 11/2), the easy winner of a 12-furlong conditions race at Lingfield Park on January 9, and course and distance winner Abe Lincoln (Jeremy Noseda/Ryan Moore, 14/1).
There is French representation courtesy of In The Lope (Pia Brandt/Adam Kirby, 22/1), who captured an extended nine-furlong Polytrack handicap at Deauville in December and ran well on his one previous visit to Lingfield Park when a staying-on fourth in the 2017 Listed Betway Churchill Stakes.
Betway Winter Derby Trial - Betway prices: 4/6 Wissahickon; 9/2 Big Country; 11/2 Court House; 14/1 Abe Lincoln, Chiefofchiefs; 22/1 In The Lope, 25/1 Main Street; 28/1 Time To Study
Last year's winner Kachy (Tom Dascombe/Richard Kingscote, 8/11 favourite with Betway) goes for his fourth win from five All-Weather starts in the £45,000 Listed Betway Cleves Stakes.
Following a wind operation, the six-year-old looked as good as ever on his latest outing when setting a track record for six furlongs in a conditions race on Tapeta at Wolverhampton on December 26.
Kachy's main rival tomorrow is Cenotaph (Jeremy Noseda/Ryan Moore, 5/1), who was just touched off in a six-furlong conditions race at Kempton Park on January 9. Cenotaph had a 100 per cent record on Polytrack at Chelmsford City from three starts in 2018.
Others to note include prolific All-Weather performer Corinthia Knight (Archie Watson/Edward Greatrex, 8/1), winner of the 2018 Ladbrokes Three-Year-Old All-Weather Championship on Good Friday, and G1 Commonwealth Cup fourth Stone Of Destiny (Andrew Balding/Oisin Murphy, 14/1) and 2016.
Betway Cleves Stakes - Betway prices: 8/11 Kachy; 5/1 Cenotaph; 8/1 Corinthia Knight, Gorgeous Noora; 14/1 Stone Of Destiny; 16/1 Lancelot Du Lac, Sir Thomas Gresham; 18/1 Mokarris; 66/1 Roman River
The Betway Winter Derby Trial and Betway Cleves Stakes will both be broadcast live on ITV Racing.